OrganicTargets4EU: Unlocking the potential of AKIS for the organic sector

The EU Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy set the ambitious target of reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic and a significant increase of organic aquaculture by 2030. To reach the 25% target, the organic area and organic aquaculture growth would need to triple. If the current trend in organic land and aquaculture would continue as “business as usual” (like 2016-2020) the EU would reaching only 15% organic agricultural land by 2030.

The project OrganicTargets4EU wants to support achievement of these targets. Amongst other things, it recognises the crucial role of agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS) for the organic sector and the targets.

So, OrganicTargets4EU calls for concrete actions to encourage a well-functioning AKIS across EU Member States to unlock the organic sector’s potential. Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) can be the bridge between science, practice, and policy.

What are agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS)?

AKIS link people and organisations to promote mutual learning, to generate, share and utilise agriculture-related technology, knowledge, and information. It brings together diverse actors from the private, public and non-profit sectors connected to agriculture, including farmers, farm workers, agricultural educators, researchers, non-academic experts, public and independent private advisors, supply chain actors, and others.

What did OrganicTargets4EU do?

The OrganicTargets4EU project assessed AKIS in organic agriculture, aquaculture, and across value chain actors in eight focus countries within the EU: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, Romania and Greece.

Results of expert interviews, online surveys, and stakeholder mapping describe the organisational characteristics of AKIS in each country, policy background and advisory services in place. The project’s key findings are as follows:

  • AKIS’ development greatly differs across Europe. Countries with more developed organic sectors have more national policy support and well-established networks of actors. Countries with a less developed AKIS for organic are characterised by private market actors often taking over AKIS functions. In such context, local connections and networks are vital knowledge hubs, while also addressing the shortcomings of organic provisions within AKIS;
  • A well-functioning AKIS for organic depends on conventional AKIS actors and their willingness to support organic farming. Organic provisions in AKIS are not recognised either politically or institutionally, which lead to a lack of strategic planning and funding. Nevertheless, key actors needed for a well-functioning AKIS for organic are already present in the national AKIS.
  • EU programmes play a crucial role in shaping the development of AKIS for organic. EU projects and initiatives (e.g., EIP AGRI) provide opportunities and funding for regular international and in-country exchanges of experiences, best practices

👉Read the full OrganicTargeys4EU AKIS assessment here

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About OrganicTargets4EU

The Horizon Europe project OrganicTargets4EU (2022-2026) aims to help reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming and a significant increase in organic aquaculture by 2030. IFOAM Organics Europe leads this project which is working on outcomes that will drive the growth and development of the organic sector focussing on policy implementation, evidence-based decision making, increased and coordinated Research & Innovation and increased knowledge sharing. The project results will be discussed in a multi-actor policy dialogue and it will make recommendations for the CAP strategic plans and EU/national organic action plans from 2025-2027 and from 2028 onwards.

 Visit the project website for more information and follow its hashtag #OrganicTargets4EU on LinkedIn and X or contact [email protected].

OrganicTargets4EU is funded by the European Union (Grant no. 101060368) and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) (Grant no. 22.00155). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, European Research Executive Agency (REA) or Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Neither the European Union nor any other granting authority can be held responsible for them

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